The 17 Buck A/C Unit…

Hot!!! Man, is that an under-statement! The past week has been in and out of the 100’s like a Pynchonian simile (here)… Damn, it’s been hot! …So I had this customer come in to my (evil empire) work place the other day asking me if I’d ever heard of an “ice-box A/C unit”. I had never heard of such a thing but we, the customer and I, got into a heated (ha-ha) discussion about how one would go about making such a contraption. Anyway, inspired by the above record breaking temp’s in the Chesapeake Bay I went home on my day off and made one $17.00, 12 volt (off the grid) Ice-Box Air Conditioning Unit. Here’s how I did it… …First, I got a cheap, ok, it was free, cooler from work, an in-line bilge blower (far-right), two vents (left), a length of flexi-duct hose, a push-pull on-off switch and a drain plug… … I installed the blower motor, the electrical wiring and the switch in a small group in the upper right corner of the cooler then I ran the 14 gauge wire out of the box. …After that I cut an input air vent the same size as the blower output on the opposite side of the cooler, once again, in the upper right hand corner. …I put a 12 volt cigarette lighter male-plug on the end of the wire and ran it into the cockpit. … Then all you have to do is fill it up with ice, run the ducting to your favorite place (in our case it’s the companion way entrance) and turn that sucker on! We’ll see how it goes, so far it’s been pretty cool, a bit on the loud side, even though the fan motor is inside the cooler, but I think[…]

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Leaps and Bounds

First of all, it’s hot.  Crazy hot.  And it’s been hot for a long time and it’s not even August so it’ll continue to be hot for a long time to come.  Why, oh why, did we move to Baltimore during a record-breaking winter and remain through a ridiculous summer?  Oh, right – the sure thing. For the most part, I like the sure thing.  I think a sure thing is a lovely planning tool.  It’s easy to make a budget when you know what kind of income you’re going to have.  Working for the census, I didn’t know how long the job would last (and I’ve already made it safely through two layoffs, with another set of pink-slips being handed out on Friday the 30th).  I didn’t know how much overtime would be allowed.  But I sure as hell did the math on the guaranteed 40 hours at $18.54 plus the health and wellness payout of $3.35 (for the first 40 hours, not on overtime).  And that money pays the bills. There’s a problem with the sure thing.  It’s limited.  It’s sure, but it’s not going to result in fabulous unexpected gains.  It usually doesn’t even result in fabulous unexpected happiness.  It is what it is.  It’s sure. James has long been a proponent of the gamble, the hope, the wish, the maybe.  If there’s a sure thing, it’s a trap.  And you know what?  He’s right. Hawaii was hard on me.  It was hard on James, too, but he felt it more socially/interpersonally.  I felt it more as a contraction of options.  We had so few places to go, so few jobs for which we could apply.  Sure things were hard to come by, and every one we found spoke the same language of wait, wait, wait.  We[…]

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Writing in order to ask questions

I’m reading philosophy.  Not something I’ve done a whole lot of since school, mostly because I’ve always found it more interesting and urgent when framed in a story. For example, Sherri S Tepper is certainly a person who has a philosophy that rings throughout her books, and her characters argue this philosophy through their actions, their interactions with each other, and sometime overtly in written conversation.  Or John Barth and Salman Rushdie, who do the same things in more elegant, ornate ways, with less of a traditional storyline structure. Now I’m planning on exploring basic life themes through the book I’m going to write.  I have a character who is warming painfully from the frostbite of guilt and, strange to say, I’m not terribly familiar with guilt.  I know shame better but don’t even have much sense of shame.  Forgiveness, redemption, retribution…I need to get to know these things in order to question them deeply. On a fundamental level, I am fascinated by, and confused by, the kinds of negative emotion that can ruin a life without any outside force whatsoever.  I believe in personal responsibility.  I believe that one must act in accordance with one’s own personal ethics in order to be a person of integrity.  But when I fail to do so, my next belief is that I should learn and do better.  I have never acted so out of accord that I have carried a debt of guilt. One of the concepts I’ve been reading about is that people have a right to be punished.  That only in punishing misbehavior can society help a person exorcise guilt.  That guilt is responsive to punishment and forgiveness, not to change or an intention to do better. Is this true?  Capital T True or true in some limited way?  Only[…]

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